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Wednesday's papers: Advance voting and figure skating

Two stories stand out in the print press on Wednesday, with the start of advance voting in the local elections and the opening of the figure skating world championships at Helsinki Areena.

Emmi Peltonen esiintyy jäällä
Emmi Peltonen is Finland's big star at this week's World Figure Skating Championships. Image: Lehtikuva

Finland is gearing up for two big stories on Wednesday: advance voting in the local elections, and the start of the World Championships in figure skating at the Helsinki Areena.

The figure skating is huge news for a country that loves winter sports but has been searching for a new star since Laura Lepistö and Kiira Korpi retired, both in their mid-20s, due to injury.

Now they seem to have found one in Emmi Peltonen, a 17-year-old hoping to secure one of the 24 places in the Olympics on offer to the best performers this week. She's covered in all the newspapers on Wednesday, with most finding a different angle.

Ilta-Sanomat notes that her season started 'catastrophically' in Oberstdorf, when she was ill and had to pull out of the competition halfway through. Since then she rested, recovered and in November qualified for the World Championships short programme with a good performance in Warsaw, and after that she made it to the freestyle programme.

Emmi tells IS she's happy to be ready for the championships on home ice, as you never know when that kind of experience will come round again.

Finnish medal unlikely

IS also gives an update on Lepistö's post-skating career. She graduated from business school, founded her own company and now works as a 'sports manager' or agent, looking after the image and sponsorships of professional sportspeople. The tabloid also says that it's extremely unlikely a Finn will repeat Lepistö's 2010 bronze medal in the worlds any time soon.

HS has a partial explanation for that in a big feature story, from which the main takeaway is that Peltonen has to buy her own ice time when and where she can, as that on offer from her club isn't suitable for an elite athlete.

The capital's local paper also claims (somewhat dubiously, given the difficulties in measuring the impact), that the championships will bring millions of euros to Helsinki. The paper supports that claim by quoting a deputy mayor who says that foreign visitors will spend 'many millions' of euros while at the event.

Organisers have sold 3,000 tickets for the whole event, and 62,000 day tickets--they will break even if they sell another three thousand.

Advance voting starts

Advance voting starts on Wednesday and runs until 4 April, and all the papers have a story or two on why and how people should exercise their franchise. Helsingin Sanomat offers 20+1 reasons to vote, although they do all sounds fairly similar. The +1 reason is that "there are very few good reasons not to vote".

HS also suggests that the "green surge" of support for the Green Party might encourage more people to vote, lifting turnout from the 57.4 percent recorded at the last local election in 2012. The paper also lists all the places in the capital where it's possible to vote in advance.

Tampere daily Aamulehti has a similar list, and a nice graphic showing turnout levels for the region's municipalities in 2012, handily divided into advance and on-the-day voting percentages.

The paper also has a slightly gloomier article on promises made before the last election. Five parties committed to bringing the city of Tampere's budget into balance over the course of this electoral term, but that has not happened. That's partly due to unemployment as Nokia and Microsoft drastically reduce their head count in the city, making Tampere worse-off than Espoo, Turku and Helsinki.

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